Vascular Closure Devices at the Crossroads
There are some 15 million medical procedures performed worldwide each year using interventional, catheter-based techniques, and that number will grow as the aging population demands less invasive treatments. This revolution has already generated multibillion dollar product markets for the devices used to perform these procedures, but there is another huge, frequently overlooked opportunity: devices for closing the puncture site.
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With an annual growth of almost 5%, the market for vascular access site repair products is attracting companies with innovative new products. Wider acceptance of new approaches to wound closure by interventionalists and the under-penetration in emerging Asian markets in particular are resulting in an uptake in the use of higher-tech devices and the emergence of local manufacturers.
Much like the early days of coronary stenting, percutaneous aortic valve replacement has captured the imagination of physicians and industry alike. Although many challenges remain, most physicians in the heart valve community appear optimistic that transcatheter aortic valve technologies will eventually achieve a prominent place in the treatment armamentarium, a development that would put these devices on track to achieve over $1 billion in sales within the next five years.
Despite the best intentions and brightest innovation, start-ups haven't been able to tap into the huge potential presented by the vascular closure market. Ten years after the first generation devices made it to market, the original two leaders still dominate despite the limitations of their devices, while many start-ups have come and gone. A long list of new hopefuls believe they have the solution physicians have desired. Now all they have to do is convince the physicians, who, when it comes to vascular closure devices, are slow to recognize clinical data but quick to embrace a device that feels right to them.